THE BOOK OF
The Collected Writings of Bitcoin Creator
E53 PUBLISHING LLC
Copyright © 2014 by Phil Champagne, All rights reserved.
The part of this book’s content that comes from Internet forum is in the public domain. I give full rights to anyone to copy and distribute electronic copies of this
book, either in part or in full.
Published in the United States of America by e53 Publishing LLC
ISBN 978-0-9960613-0-8 Hardcover
ISBN 978-0-9960613-1-5 Softcover
e53 Publishing LLC
Cover illustration by Lisa Weichel
Editing by M ary Graybeal
Cover and text design and composition by John Reinhardt Book Design
This book is also available in eBook format.
To get a free copy, please go to: BookOfSatoshi.com,
About the Cover Picture
Who This Book is Intended For
2. How and Why Bitcoin Works
3. The First Post on Crypto Mailing List
4. Scalability Concerns
5. The 51% Attack
6. About Centrally Controlled Networks Versus Peer-to-Peer Networks
7. Satoshi on the Initial Inflation Rate of 35%
8. About Transactions
9. On the Orphan Blocks
10. About Synchronization of Transactions
11. Satoshi Discusses Transaction Fees
12. On Confirmation and Block Time
13. The Byzantine General's Problem
14. On Block Time, an Automated Test, and the Libertarian Viewpoint
15. More on Double Spend, Proof-of-Work and Transaction Fees
16. On Elliptic Curve Cryptography, Denial of Service Attacks, and Confirmation
17. More in the Transaction Pool, Networking Broadcast, and Coding Details
18. First Release of Bitcoin
19. On the Purpose For Which Bitcoin Could Be Used First
20. "Proof-of-Work" Tokens and Spammers
21. Bitcoin Announced on P2P Foundation
22. On Decentralization as Key to Success
23. On the Subject of Money Supply
24. Release of Bitcoin Vo.1.3
25. On Timestamping Documents
26. Bitcointalk Forum Welcome Message
27. On Bitcoin Maturation
28. How Anonymous Are Bitcoins?
29. A Few Questions Answered By Satoshi
30. On "Natural Deflation"
31. Bitcoin Version 0.2 is Here!
32. Recommendation on Ways to Do a Payment for An Order
33. On the Proof-of-Work Difficulty
34. On the Bitcoin Limit and Profitability of Nodes
35. On the Possibility of Bitcoin Address Collisions
36. QR Code
37. Bitcoin Icon/Logo
38. GPL License Versus MIT License
39. On Money Transfer Regulations
40. On the Possibility of a Cryptographic Weakness
41. On a Variety of Transaction Types
42. First Bitcoin Faucet
43. Bitcoin 0.3 Released!
44. On The Segmentation or "Internet Kill Switch"
45. On Cornering the Market
46. On Scalability and Lightweight Clients
47. On Fast Transaction Problems
48. Wikipedia Article Entry on Bitcoin
49. On the Possibility of Stealing Coins
50. Major Flaw Discovered
51. On Flood Attack Prevention
52. Drainage of Bitcoin Faucet
53. Transaction to IP Address Rather Than Bitcoin Address
54. On Escrow and Multi-Signature Transactions
55. On Bitcoin Mining as a Waste of Resources
56. On an Alternate Type of Block Chain with Just Hash Records
57. On the Higher Cost of Mining
58. On the Development of an Alert System
59. On the Definition of Money and Bitcoin
60. On the Requirement of a Transaction Fee
61. On Sites with CAPTCHA and Paypal Requirements
62. On Short Messages in the Block Chain
63. On Handling a Transaction Spam Flood Attack
64. On Pool Mining Technicalities
65. On WikiLeaks Using Bitcoin
66. On a Distributed Domain Name Server
67. On a PC World Article on Bitcoin and WikiLeaks Kicking the Hornet's Nest
68. Satoshi's Last Forum Post: Release of Bitcoin 0.3-19
69. Emails to Dustin Trammell
70. Last Private Correspondence
71. Bitcoin and Me (Hal Finney)
Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System
Terms & Definitions
ABOUT THE COVER PICTURE
CREDIT FOR THE IMAGE on the front cover goes to Lisa Weichel
(user id lisa_aw on flickr.com). The photo was taken at Cueva de las
Manos (Cave of Hands) in the province of Santa Cruz in Argentina.
Cueva de las Manos is a series of caves famous for the various paintings
of human hands covering its walls. The paintings, the earliest of which
date from around 13,000 years and the latest from about 9,000 years
ago, were left there by multiple generations.
I selected it as this book’s cover image because it seems to me to
embody many of the concepts underlying Bitcoin—many individuals
participating and cooperating to attain, over time, a common goal and
yet maintaining their own individuality and uniqueness. Bitcoin differs
from the cave paintings of Cueva de las Manos in scale, however.
Although these paintings were produced by multiple generations of
individuals over several thousands of years, the number of these artists
can’t compare in size to the millions who now and will in the future use
Bitcoin. Moreover, Bitcoin’s users are geographically dispersed,
collaborating over a decentralized system. Finally, whereas Cueva de las
Manos was the work of one or more distinct tribes of humans, Bitcoin,
open to anyone to use and adapt, transcends nationality and has the
potential to become a true world currency.
I WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND my profound appreciation to the
following individuals for their contribution to this work:
Dustin Trammell (dustintrammell.com) for sharing email exchanges
he had with Satoshi Nakamoto,
Gavin Andersen, Lead Core Developer of the Bitcoin project, for his
contribution to Bitcoin and also for sharing his email exchanges with
Jeff Berwick of DollarVigilante.com for writing the foreword and
for being an advocate of freedom and liberty.
For their support, expertise, input, and contributions, I would like to
thank my son, Samuel, my daughter Vivianne and my wife, Marie
Gagnon. And finally, I would like to thank all the people who helped me
put this book together in particular Mary Graybeal, our editor who did a
tremendous job and John Reinhardt who came up with this great design
for the book.
And, lastly, a sincere thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto. Without him,
how long would we have had to wait before such a revolutionary
concept as Bitcoin was discovered and shared?
WHO THIS BOOK IS INTENDED FOR
THIS BOOK CONTAINS most of the writings of Satoshi Nakamoto,
creator of Bitcoin, published in emails and forum posts during the span
of a little over two years during which Bitcoin was launched and became
established. Anyone interested in learning about Bitcoin and, more
specifically, about the thought processes of its creator will appreciate
this book. Its content will be an easy read for anyone having a
background in computer software. However, economists and investors
without a background in information technology may also be interested
in Satoshi’s writings, some of which concern economic concepts.
Depending on background and interest, certain readers may be
interested in only certain chapters.
To enable readers to derive maximum benefit from Satoshi’s
writings, we’ve included a chapter entitled “How and Why Bitcoin
Works” that provides an introduction to the key concepts of Bitcoin and
the fundamental principles on which it is based. This should help the
reader gain sufficient understanding to comprehend the majority of the
chapters which follow. Chapters are presented in chronological order,
from the earliest post in which Satoshi presents the germinal idea of
Bitcoin to the most recent, which marks his withdrawal from public life.
Part of this book’s content comes from various Internet forums:
p2pfoundation.org, bitcointalk.org, and the cryptography mail archive.
You can visit the website TheBookOfSatoshi.com for easy
references to the URL web links referenced in the book. They are listed
BITCOIN HAS CHANGED EVERYTHING. Its importance as an
evolution in money and banking cannot be overstated. Notice I don’t use
the word “revolution” here because I consider Bitcoin to be a complete
“evolution” from the anachronistic money and banking systems that
humanity has been using—and been forced by government dictate to use
—for at least the last hundred years.
One of the biggest issues that newcomers to Bitcoin have is that it is
“shrouded in mystery”.
This is not totally true, as this important book shows. While the true
identity of Satoshi Nakamoto may never be known for certain— despite
those like Dorian Nakamoto, whom the mainstream media say is Satoshi
—what we do know, in very prolific and historical detail, are the
underpinnings and design of Bitcoin from its earliest days.
Very detailed conversations were held between top cryptographic
and programming experts since the very first day Bitcoin was
introduced… a day that may go down in history and possibly be
celebrated by generations to come. November 1, 2008.
The first words posted by Satoshi Nakamoto were eloquent in their
simplicity as he announced his creation, which would go on to change
the world, “I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s
fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.”
He then put a link to a white paper he had written on the subject.
The rest, as they say, is history.
These discussions, taking place publicly on the bitcointalk.org
forum, went on until December 12th, 2010. After that, Satoshi went
Amongst the Bitcoin community, these posts are well known, but
your average person would need hours to scour through it all and make
sense of it. In this important book, Phil Champagne has gone through
each post and identified the most important ones… and given the
context for the time of the post as to why it is important. This creates a
logical timeline of Bitcoin’s evolution straight from the keyboard of
Satoshi Nakamoto and could be described as Bitcoin’s autobiography.
As I write, in March 2014, Bitcoin’s future is unknowable. It could
go on to change the world dramatically, freeing us from the oppression
of central banks and the gargantuan governments that feed off their free
money. Or, it could go down in smoke and flames due to any number of
No matter what happens from here, however, the impact of Bitcoin
is knowable. Its most core concept has and will change how we think
about contracts, trust, and transactions no matter what happens to
Bitcoin itself. Already thousands of applications have been built off the
platform, and these have expanded it outside the world of financial
Phil Champagne has put into an easy-to-read format the fomenting
of one of the most important technological innovations of our time… a
completely decentralized platform to perform payment transaction
without the need for a trusted third party. Its importance is only
surpassed by the Internet itself as an evolution in communications.
Chapter 2 provides readers unfamiliar with Bitcoin a great overview of
its technological and philosophical foundation and of how it operates.
Decades from now many will look back at this innovation the way
we currently look back at the Internet or the Gutenberg press as being
epochal moments in the history of civilization. And this collection of
Satoshi’s posts and correspondences forms a logical timeline and will
be one of the easiest ways for future historians to understand just how it
began and evolved.
Editor in chief, The Dollar Vigilante
E HAVE SEEN many amazing technological revolutions
throughout human history. The Guttenberg press helped bring
books to the masses. The telegraph has enabled crude but rapid
communication across great distances. More recently, personal
computers have vastly increased human productivity, leading to the
creation of the Internet, digital communications, and the advent of
citizen journalism as photos of major events are almost instantly
uploaded to Twitter and other social networks via smartphone, which
are small computers in their own right. Until fairly recently, however,
the monetary system has remained somewhat untouched by a major
Bitcoin is run by software whose blueprint (source code) is freely
available for anyone to see and even adapt for his or her own use. It
currently runs on multiple computers connected over the Internet via a
common networking protocol defined by this same software. Existing
within this software and existing because of it is a digital currency
known as bitcoin, spelled with a lower case b and abbreviated BTC.
Bitcoin, both a virtual currency and a payment system, represents a
revolutionary concept whose significance quickly becomes apparent
with a first transaction. A buyer making a purchase in BTCs has only to
provide the merchant with personal information relevant to the purchase,
for example, the shipping or email address, to pay. Compare this with a
credit card purchase, which necessitates the buyer giving enough
personal information to enable another party bent on fraud, a hacker or
dishonest employee, to make fraudulent purchases with it.
Bitcoin’s significance is not limited to the simplicity of the payment
system, however. The supply of Bitcoin currency is defined by the
software and its underlying protocol. Only 21 million bitcoins will ever
come into existence, with about 12 million so far having been created.
The last bitcoin is expected to be created around the year 2140. This
very specific, limited money supply has led to many controversies, some
of which have more to do with lack of understanding of the protocol or
the economics than with the software itself. Although 21 million BTC
might seem insufficient with a global population of 7 billion people, the
bitcoin currency is highly divisible. The smallest denomination allowed
by the current software is 0.00000001 BTC (10-8 BTC), which has been
defined as 1 satoshi and was named after the software’s putative creator,
Satoshi Nakamoto. There are therefore 100 million satoshis in a single
bitcoin, and thus the maximum supply of 21 million BTC will be equal
to 2.1 quadrillion satoshis or, if you prefer, 2,100 trillion satoshis.
Bitcoin was created by an anonymous person (or group of persons)
known as Satoshi Nakamoto. At the time Nakamoto made his first
public post announcing his paper on Bitcoin, he was just another
anonymous user like millions of others posting on Internet forums. His
new software was then still in the early phase of development, and
Bitcoin was only an experiment in its early stages. Satoshi’s interaction
was limited to email exchanges only and for a brief duration of a little
over 2 years. Since then, we haven’t heard from him. Around the time of
his last post, Bitcoin’s value was soaring, and the media were starting to
take notice. Just when Bitcoin appeared poised to take off and was
beginning to attract serious interest, Satoshi Nakamoto retreated from
the public eye.
A few years later, Satoshi has become something of an iconic figure,
and his retreat has only served to amplify the mystery surrounding him.
His identity is irrelevant to the well-being of Bitcoin, as the code is
open source and is, in fact, being constantly upgraded and improved
upon even as we speak. However, gaining an understanding of the
mindset of the mysterious person (or group of persons) behind this
marvelous new technology would certainly prove interesting.
Satoshi’s two-year “public life” overlapping Bitcoin’s development
and launch began with the publication of his paper “Bitcoin: A PeertoPeer Electronic Cash System”, which he announced on November 1st,
2008, on the Cryptography Mailing List. At that time, this paper could
be downloaded at domain name bitcoin.org, which had been registered a
anonymousspeech.com. On November 9th, 2008, the Bitcoin project was
registered on SourceForge.net and, at the beginning of 2009, the genesis
block was created. To understand the genesis block, imagine a
bookkeeping ledger that adds new pages (blocks) daily and contains a
record of all bitcoin transactions ever made. The very first page of this
book is called the genesis block, which will be explained in more detail
in the following chapter. Satoshi incorporated this interesting quote into
the genesis block in reference to the bank bailouts occurring at the time:
THE TIM ES 03/JAN/2009
Bank bailouts were and still are extremely unwelcome occurrences,
particular to libertarians, who caricaturized our political and economic
environment with this quote: “Privatize the gains and socialize the
Six days later, on January 9 th, 2009, Nakamoto published the source
code of Bitcoin version 0.01 on SourceForge.net. As of this writing
(March 2014), Bitcoin v. 0.8.6 is the latest version.
Satoshi’s last post was published on the bitcointalk.org forum on
December 12th, 2010. His last known communication is a private email
sent a few months later to Gavin Andresen, current Lead Core Developer
of the Bitcoin project.
Below is a chart of the public trade data from bitcoinmarket.com,
the first Bitcoin exchange, which is no longer in business. As can be
seen, the value of one bitcoin went from 10 cents to a dollar in a very
short time. At the time of Satoshi’s last post on the forum, it was trading
around 25 cents and was approaching 30 cents per bitcoin.
FIGURE 1 - EARLY CHART OF BITCOIN PRICED IN USD
This book is a collection of the postings and writings published
under Satoshi’s name on various forums and included in email
exchanges. I have chosen to exclude posts of a technical nature, such as
those related to coding, software compilation, and the detailed technical
operation of the Bitcoin software. You will notice a few interesting
subjects are discussed; one in particular involves the Byzantine Generals
Problem, heretofore considered unsolvable, which describes the
challenge of communicating in an unreliable environment. Some of
Satoshi’s comments relate to the news coverage that developed as
Bitcoin started to attract media attention. One such event was when
PayPal stopped processing payments for WikiLeaks, a journalistic non-
profit organization dedicated to publishing selected secret and classified
information provided by anonymous sources. A subsequent article
published in PC World magazine conjectured how WikiLeaks could
benefit from Bitcoin.
Satoshi’s post seems to indicate that he was not comfortable with
Bitcoin getting this kind of attention and was not ready for such a
relationship, at least not yet:
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO GET THIS ATTENTION IN ANY OTHER CONTEXT. WIKILEAKS HAS KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST,
AND THE SWARM IS HEADED TOWARDS US.
How much this event influenced his decision to “retire” from
Bitcoin’s development is unknown, but the timing is interesting, to say
the least. Significantly, this post was written just nineteen hours before
his last post on the forum, the announcement of the release of Bitcoin
Many journalists and researchers have tried to identify who could be
the person behind Satoshi Nakamoto. So far, at least three attempts at
identifying him have been made. Typical choices have been known
scientists in the field of cryptography, none of whose real names are
Satoshi Nakamoto. All have been proven false, and all denied being
Satoshi Nakamoto as well. However, very recently, a newspaper claimed
to have identified a Californian, an engineer with actual name Dorian
Satoshi Nakamoto, as the Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto. Dorian Nakamoto
has denied this, and I tend to believe him. For one thing, Dorian
Nakamoto does not demonstrate the proficiency in English that the
Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto has shown through his writing. What is most
relevant to this book concerning this episode is that it apparently caused
Bitcoin’s Satoshi Nakamoto to break his silence and post this message
on the p2pfoundation forum on Friday March 7th, 2014:
DORIAN NAKAM OTO.
As you will see in the book, Satoshi’s replies addressed many of the
most commonly asked questions and criticisms regarding Bitcoin and
are still pertinent. I suspect that, were he still involved in Bitcoin’s
development and were he to be interviewed, the writings contained in
this book would reflect the type of answers Satoshi would give.
Whatever eventually happens to Bitcoin itself, that the software has
opened the mind of the world to a new concept is indisputable. As an
open source code, it allowed a myriad of other distributed digital
currencies to enter the scene. While most of them do not represent any
significant innovations—only varying the number of coins, the
transaction confirmation speed (in Bitcoin termed block creation), or
the computer encryption algorithm—a few new ones which incorporate
significant new features or new concepts are being developed. One such
is “Truthcoin”, described as a trustless, decentralized, censorship-proof,
incentive-compatible, scalable bitcoin prediction marketplace. Ethereum
(see ethereum.org) is another digital currency that, according to its
creator, will allow users to encode advanced transaction types, smart
contracts, and decentralized applications into the block chain (Bitcoin’s
large public ledger which grows in size daily). Innovative thinkers are
seeking to use some of the concepts introduced by Bitcoin in a truly
open voting system, where voters can confirm that their votes have been
properly counted and can, at any time, view a complete vote count, thus
ensuring transparency. Bitcoin has therefore clearly sparked a new
technological revolution that capitalizes on the Internet, another
innovation that changed the world.
I am quite open to suggestions and corrections with respect to this
book and its contents. Also, if you have private email exchanges with
Satoshi that you feel can be made public, I will be glad to consider them
HOW AND WHY BITCOIN WORKS
ITCOIN HAS BEEN DESCRIBED as libertarian in nature, but
not all libertarians and those in favor of a gold-backed currency
appreciate it however, and some, in point of fact, actively despise
it. In our experience, some fundamental concepts related to Bitcoin are
not well understood by these. To fully understand Bitcoin, knowing
how and, just as importantly, philosophically why it works is essential.
How can a distributed system composed of several different groups and
managed by several individuals at the same time maintain its integrity
and avoid the condition termed “tragedy of the commons” by Garrett
Hardin? In this economic condition, individuals, acting independently
and rationally according to self-interest, behave contrary to the whole
group’s long-term best interests by depleting common resources. A
typical example is where a group of farmers share a common pasture for
grazing their cattle. Overuse and depletion of the common resource, the
pasture, can occur since it is in no one farmer’s individual self-interest
to conserve it by limiting his cattle’s consumption of the pasture.
Let’s begin with a discussion of how Bitcoin works. To appreciate
and understand most of this book, some basic understanding of
Bitcoin’s key concepts is necessary. This chapter will provide that and
will conclude with a perspective on why Bitcoin, as a payment system,
has been proven so far to be a viable solution. To complete our
discussion, we will elaborate Bitcoin’s economic implications.
At its core, Bitcoin incorporates the following concepts:
• A public ledger (called Bitcoin’s block chain). Consider this as essentially a giant book that is
publicly available and contains the bookkeeping records of all transactions ever made in the
Bitcoin system, with new pages constantly being added.
• A cryptographic algorithm called asymmetric encryption used for authorization of the
• A distributed network of computer nodes (also commonly known as miners) that verify and
validate Bitcoin transactions and update the public ledger.
Let’s explore these concepts in greater detail.
BITCOIN’S BLOCK CHAIN: PUBLIC BOOKKEEPING
All members of the Bitcoin network share its public ledger, the block
chain. Imagine a giant accounting book with each page listing a series of
transactions. A new page containing the latest Bitcoin transactions sent
by payers across the world is added approximately every 10 minutes.
This giant book is constantly available on the Internet to anyone who
runs the Bitcoin software. Note that software programs called Bitcoin
wallets can run on smartphones or personal computers and allow a user
to make payments over the Bitcoin network.
In the context of Bitcoin, the pages forming the ledger are called
blocks because they represent “blocks” of data. The block chain,
composed of many individual blocks, grows constantly in length and
contains all transactions performed in Bitcoin since its launch in
A Bitcoin transaction request contains the following:
1. The Bitcoin address of the payer, which contains the source of funds for the payment,
2. The recipient’s (payee’s) Bitcoin address, and
3. The amount of bitcoins being transferred.
Since the block chain contains the history of all outgoing and
incoming payments associated with the payer’s Bitcoin address, miners,
who also manage the Bitcoin network, can validate that the payer has
sufficient funds to cover the payment. At any time, anyone can view the
amount of bitcoins linked to (or, in an abstract way, held in) any
specific Bitcoin address. See for yourself. Go to blockchain.info and
enter the following address.
GAMM GRXKCNUYYM ANCJM ACU3M VUNVJTVM H
Under “Search”, the number of bitcoins associated with this address
will be returned.
Although the owner’s identity cannot be known from his Bitcoin
address without his having provided this information, any transfers in
and out of his account, as well as his current balance, are publicly
available for viewing.
ASYMMETRIC ENCRYPTION: WHO GETS TO SPEND THOSE BITCOINS
Encryption keys are associated with a transaction such as the one
described above. Bitcoin employs a system of asymmetric encryption
(also known as public-key cryptography), so called because the
encryption algorithm requires a pair of keys, each consisting of a long
series of digits. One is public and controls the decryption operation,
while the other, the private key, governs the encryption operation, or
It is easy for the algorithm to create a private key and to derive its
corresponding public key. However, determining a private key from the
corresponding public key is computationally unfeasible, thus allowing
the public key to, as its name implies, be made public. With the public
key, the payee can retrieve the transaction information, allowing the
transfer of bitcoins to proceed. The following Figure 2 conceptually
illustrates Bitcoin’s double key system, which provides part of the basis
for Bitcoin’s operation.
FIGURE 2: SYMMETRIC ENCRYPTION ILLUSTRATED
The Bitcoin software’s algorithm allows only the owner of the
private key to “spend” bitcoins associated with that Bitcoin address.
The recipient, or payee, shares his Bitcoin address with the payer. Since
only the recipient knows the private key linked to his address, only he
will be able to access, spend, or transfer those bitcoins at a later time.
Within Bitcoin, a sender digitally signs a Bitcoin transaction with
his private key. Bitcoin transactions actually contain the public key
(assume this is the Bitcoin address for now). Using this public key, the
system verifies that the digital signature is valid and thereby confirms
that the sender is indeed the private key’s owner. This system allows the
owner to “spend” the bitcoins associated with his Bitcoin address in the
public ledger, and the public ledger (i.e., the block chain) will be
updated with a new page (i.e., block) containing this transaction. The
addition of this new transaction to the block chain effectively tells the
Bitcoin network to credit those bitcoins to the recipient’s address and
debit them from the sender’s Bitcoin address. Private keys are made of a
long series of digits stored and managed by password-protected Bitcoin
wallets (i.e., software on the user’s computer, mobile device, or other
A NETWORK OF MINERS ACTING AS MINTERS, BOOKKEEPERS, AND REGULATORS OF THE SYSTEM
So far, we have talked about what transactions look like and how they
are validated. If Bitcoin were a centrally operated system, the story
would end here: A single entity would be responsible for this task.
However, Bitcoin is a decentralized system, and, as such, this task is
shared among a collection of voluntarily participating nodes (miners)
distributed across the world. Understanding how a system that includes
bookkeeping and payment transfer authorization could be operated by
different entities in such a way as to support his or her own self-interest
is essential. This characteristic of the system is one of the key
understandings to which I alluded earlier as one that is often missed by
critics of Bitcoin.
Miners, the nodes responsible for operating the Bitcoin network,
verify that transactions are valid and update the block chain with new
blocks consisting of the latest transactions on a regular basis. The
Bitcoin software run by miners on their individual computers
incorporates the Bitcoin protocol with its set of rules and agreements.
Overall, the Bitcoin network requires that the block chain (public
book ledger) be continually updated with the addition of new blocks
(pages in the ledger book). Approximately every 10 minutes, a new
block is added with the list of the latest transactions. Although all
miners are working on the next block, only one will be selected to have
his specific version of the block added to the block chain. Indeed, each
miner is operating in his self-interest when he creates his own version of
this next block and so personally collects the transaction fees associated
with that block of transactions. Although the core parameters of Bitcoin
transactions are unaltered (payer, payee, amount), most of them include
transaction fees, disbursed by the payer and to be credited to the
account of the miner whose block is selected for inclusion in the block
chain. This miner will therefore update each of these transactions and
will credit the fees associated with those transactions to his very own
In addition to transaction fees, miners whose blocks are added to the
block chain also earn additional credits with newly minted bitcoins.
They create an extra transaction that adds these to their own bitcoin
accounts. This is called a block reward. Currently, Bitcoin’s protocol
allows miners to allocate themselves 25 new bitcoins per block created.
This is in addition to the sum of transaction fees. Initially, at Bitcoin’s
launch, 50 bitcoins (BTC) were allocated as the block reward per block,
which is halved approximately every four years.
With the new bitcoins credited to his address, the miner whose
version of the block is selected for inclusion in the block chain clearly
benefits from finding a solution before his fellow miners do. How this
selection process works will be explained shortly. For now, however,
view it as solving a mathematical problem by executing a very expensive
computing task. The solution is difficult to find but, once found, its
correctness is easy to verify. The first miner to find the solution to his
block is allowed to publish this version to the entire network of miners.
These miners receive the block and its solution and then work to
authenticate and validate it, that is, certify that the solution found by the
first miner to the block is correct. The Bitcoin protocol sets the
difficulty of the problem in such a way that an average of around 10
minutes are required for the solution to be found.